Crashes on the Malahat and Highwy 14 can cause lengthy highway shutdowns. (Black Press Media)

UPDATE: CRD director lobbies for full cellphone service on Pacific Marine Circle Tour

‘Critical to highway safety,’ says Mike Hicks

Vancouver Island’s Pacific Marine Circle Tour might be a relaxing and beautiful drive – but a local politician says the highway’s lack of cellphone service also makes it dangerous.

The 290-kilometre highway starts and ends in Victoria, with views of the Juan De Fuca, Haro, and Georgia straits. Much of the route weaves through remote wilderness.

Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca’s electoral area director for the Capital Regional District, says more than half of the highway route has no cellphone service.

Hicks concerns heightened recently when the province announced it wouldn’t go ahead with plans for alternative routes for the Malahat highway.

RELATED: No to alternate route

A study, released in December, examined emergency detour routes that can be used when traffic incidents close the Malahat for long periods. Permanent alternate routes were not part of the study’s scope, Janelle Staite, regional deputy director for the B.C. Transportation Ministry, said.

The decision to not go ahead with any new route means in the event of a road closure on either the Malahat Highway or Highway 14, the only alternative route remains is the Pacific Marine Circle.

“If the province is decided on continuing with the Circle route it should ensure that it gets cell service on that route as soon as possible. This is a common sense factor and is critical to the safety of that highway,” Hicks said.

Hicks added he’s working to get that service put into place, but that the assistance of the province would be “hugely beneficial and the responsible thing to do.”

ALSO READ: CRD against alternate route

Any mobile service provider can install new cell sites, which would bring wireless and internet connectivity to the area.

Telus was the only cellphone company to respond to an interview request.

Telus provides wireless service along the between Victoria to Sooke, Victoria to Duncan, and Duncan to Lake Cowichan, and is looking at the possibility of expanding service along Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

“We will continue to explore opportunities to connect more of the highway in this area in the future, working collaboratively with local and provincial authorities,” said Liz Sauvé, a Telus spokesperson.

– with files from Black Press Media



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read